Paul Herman

Fransman making ice cream while out in the cold

2017-03-24 12:59
Marius Fransman (Netwerk24)

Marius Fransman (Netwerk24)

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As the battle between suspended ANC Western Cape leader Marius Fransman and Gwede Mantashe heats up, we have to laugh at the new flavour their squabble has taken on.

The pair find themselves at odds yet again (this time over, yes, ice cream), thanks to Andile Lungisa's defiant stance to step down from the Nelson Mandela Bay leadership, against Mantashe's orders.

Of course, it has nothing to do with Lungisa at all.

Their feud stems from their very public spat during Fransman's own sexual harassment case, which eventually saw him suspended by the party last year, pending an appeal.

But Lungisa's come-and-get-me taunt to Mantashe and co has given Fransman a new lease on life, rushing to "young visionary" Lungisa's aid in a letter sprinkled with his wisdom.

In the most bizarre fashion, Mantashe hit back by telling Fransman to "go sell ice cream", to which Fransman replied: "I will go sell ice-cream IF comrade Gwede Mantashe can stop allowing that brand ANC going down under his custodianship."

You will be forgiven for forgetting that these are two of the ANC's more seasoned politicians. The retort is too funny not to laugh.

But in between Fransman's heaped scoops of playful criticism, there is politicking through and through.

"Now comrade Mantashe must know, in the coloured community where I grew up, ice cream selling was not a crime," Fransman said on Friday.

"In fact many of the professionals of SA today was built on the sweat and hardship of those men and women that sold ice cream in our communities for a living!

"So VIVA to the ice-cream sellers!"

Fransman then pledged to help 50 poor, unemployed South Africans "become the best ice cream sellers in SA!"

What can Mantashe say to that, without risking the disapproval of poor, working class people everywhere?

Challenge accepted Mr Mantashe, jelly tots and all. Your move.

Mantashe explained to News24 that "selling ice cream" was essentially a call for cheap popularity.

"When you sell ice cream, you ring a bell and the children come running," he said.

He also said it was his first job as a student.

This little clash of tastes obviously means more in the context of Andile Lungisa’s fate, due to be decided by the party’s national executive committee this weekend.

If Lungisa wins his claim to stay on as Nelson Mandela Bay chairperson, and resigns from his post on the provincial council, Fransman has backed a side that has won on a national level.

More importantly, Mantashe has lost.

It may mean very little in Fransman's own appeal against his sexual harassment charges. But it will at least ensure he has more political support from comrades who may have a say in his future later down the line.

Until then, he remains out in the cold.

But while he is there, he may as well make ice cream.

- Paul Herman is a journalist at News24. He covers Parliament and politics.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

Read more on:    gwede ­mantashe  |  marius fransman  |  ice cream
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